Plastic Free July article in Green Parent magazine

Green Parent magazine June/July 2016

A couple of years ago I took part in Plastic Free July; a worldwide initiative to encourage participants to cut down on – or eliminate – single use plastic.

I found it to be a really enlightening, yet frustrating,challenge. I learnt a lot about alternatives to plastic wrapping, straws, disposable cups etc but also discovered that plastic is everywhere. By linking up with like minded bloggers I picked up tips on how to go plastic free but also found out just how prevalent the material is (did you know there is plastic in tea bags and chewing gum?).

Suffice to say that I haven’t repeated the challenge but have tried to incorporate some of the things I learned into everyday life.


Anyway, to cut to the chase, I wrote an article on my experience of Plastic Free July for the Green Parent magazine and it is featured in their current June/July edition. I have written for them before (as I dabble in some freelance writing) and love their ethos and attitude. I also blogged about the magazine here as one of my go-to inspirational reads on slow living.

The Green Parent magazine is on sale in major newsagents and supermarkets or you can find it here. Even if you don’t have children – or your kids have grown up – I still think it’s a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to live a greener life.

(Plastic Free July 2016 begins next week on Friday  1st July. My blog post here summarises my thoughts at the end of the 2014 challenge)

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Christmas time board games

board games at Christmas

Do you play board games at Christmas? We tend to buy a new (to us) board game every year or, as the children get older, introduce them to classics from our own childhood, such as my family’s Scrabble set or my old Monopoly game. A couple of years ago we picked up a mint condition (if dated) version of the board game, Risk, which – I have to say – we have only just begun to master.

This year we added a brand new board game to the collection. (Every Christmas time I gather together toys, games, books etc that the children have outgrown and sell them on a local facebook site to raise some pennies for a Christmas treat. Last year it was cinema and pizza. This year we bought a board game)

It’s called Ticket to Ride: Europe and we bought it partly to remind us of our  rail journey through Europe this summer.

Playing board games: Ticket to Ride (Europe)

Board games at Christmas: Ticket to Ride

We’re still working out all the instructions (one thing I’m learning is how complicated some board games can be when you buy ones for older ages). The aim of the game appears to be to create as many rail routes as you can throughout Europe (the longer the route the more points you get) but there are other elements to it as well: creating long distance routes, building train stations etc.

A few years ago I wrote an article on board games for Green Parent magazine. I really enjoyed writing it, interviewing families who like to play games and researching the different types of games that are out there: board games, cards, cooperative games. I’m sure it’s quite obvious but research indicates that playing games helps children to develop numeracy, literacy and emotional skills. I think they are great levellers in families: people of all ages get to play together and everyone is equal.  I concluded by saying:

“Playing games can create happy experiences where family and friends come together. It can reflect old traditions or make new ones and is something that includes everyone, whatever their age or ability.”

I hope you get the chance to dig out the board game this holiday. What are your favourites?